what is cupping therapy?

As impressive as it is, cupping therapy reveals many benefits for the body that it relaxes, drains and detoxifies. In this article, we reveal to you all the secrets of this ancestral technique.

Remember: it was in 2016, during the Olympic Games in Rio, Michael Phelps – swimming champion – revealed to the world several round marks similar to bruises inscribed on his back and shoulders… Characteristic marks of a session of cupping therapy ! This atypical treatment then found itself at the center of attention: particularly popular with celebrities and high-level athletes, the cupping therapy is more widespread than one might imagine, although still unknown to the general public.

Recognizable by imposing reddish markings that it leaves on the body, this practice is regularly found at the heart of all questions: what are the benefits of cupping therapy ? Is this traditional technique painful? Why and how to practice it?… So many questions to which we answer in this article. Read on if you want to all about cupping therapy !

Where does cupping therapy come from?

Ancestral technique, the cupping therapy was initially provided for the purpose of relieving pain, stimulating circulation of blood, lymph and energy that passes through the body. Its origins, this practice draws them from the traditional Chinese and Middle Eastern medicine. Its principle? Place different suction cups on the skin so as to provoke a suction effect beneficial to the body. Beyond borders, the cupping therapy has been practiced for millennia, first using suction cups made from animal horns, bamboo sticks or even wood. Today, the technique has spread and – for reasons of hygiene, comfort and safety – these materials have been replaced by glass or plastic, which did not prevent the treatment from remaining almost identical.

Cupping therapy: how does it work?

The principle of cupping therapy is simple and, we were telling you, has not really changed in millennia. To do this, several suction cups are simply placed on very specific areas of your back, generally along the meridians (interconnected channels through which the vital energy of the body circulates), so as to cause a rush of blood by aspiration and thus significant decompression in the targeted area. This ancestral treatment is found halfway between physiotherapy, osteopathy and Chinese medicine.

If it is never very long and generally does not exceed fifteen minutes, a session of cupping therapy takes place much like a massage session. Did you think it was painful? Think again ! Cupping therapy is actually meant to be much more relaxing than it looks and the marks it leaves on the skin are painless and simply created by the influx of blood into the tissues. Spoiler alert : the latter disappear in a few days, almost as quickly as they appeared.

Cupping therapy: different techniques possible

Now that you know a little more about cupping therapy, let’s take a closer look at the different possibilities available to you:

  • The hot suction cup: this is the ancestral technique. The latter consists in emptying the suction cup of its oxygen using a flame placed inside just before the installation, which will allow the suction of the skin.
  • The cold suction cup: with this very practical technique, the suction cup empties its air thanks to a pump system allowing the desired pressure to be adjusted mechanically. Often, a device is used to draw air from the suction cup from above.
  • The technique with cuts: whether it is carried out hot or cold, this so-called “wet” treatment differs from simple suction by including in the process the making of small notches on the skin through which the blood will be evacuated when the suction cups are placed. This painless method – believed to purify the blood, boost the immune system, and release endorphin – is much less common and strongly discouraged for people with dermatological or health problems. This is why we advise you to rely on the advice of a professional before experiencing it.
  • The technique with movements: also called moving cupping therapy, this technique involves the suction cups being moved once they are placed on the body. To do this, the suction must be weak enough so that the movements are possible. The latter is even more like a massage and is also accompanied by the application of an oil which allows the suction cups to slide more easily on the back.

The benefits of cupping therapy

Cupping therapy promises many benefits, even when only the back is targeted by the technique. Recommended to relieve back pain (low back pain, sciatica, lumbago …), relax muscles, activate blood and lymphatic circulation, rebalance energies, drain toxins, facilitate the recovery of the body, improve tissue repair, firm the skin and thus fight against cellulite, reduce stress, reduce sleep disorders … You will understand: the cupping therapy possesses as many physical and psychological properties and acts on the overall well-being of the body. If this is possible, it is because this treatment not only targets the area where the suction cups are placed, but also stimulates acupuncture points. It is for all these reasons that the cupping therapy is particularly appreciated by top athletes and people looking for absolute relaxation.

Cupping therapy: when to practice?

There really isn’t a perfect time to practice cupping therapy, however, under certain conditions, you can only appreciate the benefits of this traditional technique all the more. This will be particularly the case if you are going through a period during which you feel particularly stressed, if you are subject to muscle or joint pain, if you have trouble falling asleep and suffer from insomnia, or afterwards. intense physical effort… In summary: these are all the situations in which cupping therapy can have real effects on your overall well-being. Able to heal everyday ailments, its use should be adopted, but beware : not in any way and always in good conditions! Which brings us to the next point …

Where to practice cupping therapy?

For proper cupping therapy, we strongly recommend that you call on a professional in the field. Whether it is a question of an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a nurse … It must imperatively be a practitioner who has not followed training in cupping medicine so that the act is carried out without danger and that the results are convincing. Indeed, the cupping therapy requires solid anatomical and neurophysiological knowledge and cannot be done randomly!

Cupping therapy: contraindications

Performed by a practitioner who does not master the technique and in good hygienic conditions, there is no reason why the cupping therapy goes wrong no significant side effects to worry about. However, this treatment is not recommended in certain cases: presence of varicose veins on the area to be treated, open wound or recent scar, burn, heart failure, hemophilia or anti-coagulant treatment, etc. Caution is in order! This is the reason why we recommend that you rely on the recommendations of a professional before considering a first session of cupping therapy.

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Video by Sarah polak

Editor for the beauty section, Mélissa intends to share with you all the secrets of this vast universe. Nothing escapes her and it is with you that she shares all her finds …